Norway was for about 300 years under Danish Reign (1536-1814) and for about 100 years under Swedish Reign (1814 – 1905).
Oslo has been Norways capital since 1314, however it did not become the largest city of the country until the great expansion during the 1800’s.
Accodring to legendary poet and historican writer Snorre Sturlason, the Norwegian King Harald Hårdråde founded the city around 1050 because there was already a large population there, there had easy access to supply and it would be easy to protect the country from the Danish, however excavations has proven that a city structure existed prior to 1050.
After a 3 day city fire in 1624 the Danish King Christian IV decided to rebuild the city and rename it to Christiania after himself.
On this day day in 1924 the Norwegian Parliament decided against the citizens of Christiania that the city was to change its name from January 1st of 1925.
However the first warnings of a name change came already during the mid 1800’s at the same time as an awakening of the medeaval past of the city.
In 1905 when Norway was released from the Union with Sweden more and more of the citizens of Oslo wanted the city to take back its old city name, however the suggestion was turned down and decided to be inappropirate.
In 1918 29 Civil Servants suggested a name change. The newspaper Morgenbladet collected about 28 000 signatures against the suggestion, and the city counsil were worried that renaming the city would cause difficulties, riots and damage for a long period ahead. The city council voted against the suggestion with 52 against 29 votes.
But these matters were up to the Parliament to decide and despite the preparations of the 300 jubilee of the foundation of Christiania in 1624 the matters had to be decided quickly and already on the 11th of July in 1924 the Parliament came to the result that Christiania (also called Kristiania) should deappear already from the 1st of January 1925. Due to the name change the 300 jubilee celebration were cancelled and in urgency the planned jubilee was changed to a city historical exhibition to show both the old and the new Oslo.
Despite the resistance the inhabitants got used to the new name very fast. City areas that had been called Oslo formally were now renamed to the old city.
Basert på artikkelen “Oslo leve!” av Bård Alsvik i byarkivets tidsskrift ”Tobias”.